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I installed a Sundance pollen trap yesterday afternoon. This evening I dumped out the collection tray contents. In spite of the bees still appearing to have some difficulty figuring out how to get back into the hive, it is clear that some are making their way back:



Now that I'm starting to collect pollen, I'm reading about pollen cleaning and trying to figure out what I need to do. Does this pic look like pollen is clean enough already? There are both gold and dark-colored... can I assume that different flowers yield pollen of different colors?

I was planning to just put this in the freezer for a day or two to dry it out some, and then keep in a jar in the fridge. Does that sound like a reasonable approach? Not planning to sell it, just use it for myself.

Joe
 

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Joe:

Are you using top mounted or bottom mounted pollen traps? You are right, the different colors are front different floral sources. Its kinda cool to see that.

We like to dry the pollen out. Removed the moisture and entensifies the potentacy of the pollen. Drying the pollen out takes some of the sweetness away. Some people like it sweeter. Just depends. I would either freeze it for dry it.
 

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For personal consumption, or for feeding to bees, I believe it is sufficient to only freeze or freeze and refrigerate pollen from Sundance traps. While I do know beekeepers who proudly sell pollen from Sundance traps 'as is', I do not recommend it and I do not do so myself.

Freezing the pollen kills over 90% of the natural bacteria, fungus and mold as well as small critters, some to small for the naked eye. As for the other contaminates, a little grass seed or stray bee part never hurt anyone and some think that such 'contaminates' help avoid a lifetime of allergies and asthma.

The main reason I recommend further cleaning and drying for pollen being sold to others is to protect the good name of Products of the Hive. A jar of moldy pollen found in the back of a cupboard does no one any good, and drying to around 10% moisture will mostly avoid that. Likewise, some pollen that is sold will end up as a well-meaning gift and the receiver might object to that bee leg (which is perfectly harmless).

Hope this helps,

Lloyd
 

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First, this will only work in a frost free freezer! Second, I don't really know 'how long' because the length of time is strongly correlated with the cubic area of pollen. If the pollen is only 1/4" deep I would think 5-7 days would be sufficient. If 2" thick, it may take 2-3 weeks, with constant (every 2-3 days) stirring.

But why bother to dry it? You said you were not planning to sell it. 72 hours of freezing will kill all the bad stuff...then keep it in the refrigerator. It should keep for months. If you need to keep some longer, keep it in the freezer in a sealed container.
 

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For my own personal consumption I just dry it overnight.

I spread it out on a baking sheet just 1 mm thick and leave it on the kitchen table with the ceiling fan on low overnight. It is quite dry by morning.

Then I bag it up and put it in the freezer. I have had some in the freezer for a year and it seemed fine when I thawed it and used it.

I am using the Sundance II top mounted pollen traps which (from what I have read) produce a much cleaner pollen.
 

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I use the Sundance bottom traps and the pollen is incredibly clean. It takes sometimes as much as a week or more for the the bees to get the hang of it. Sometimes at first there are a lot of wings and legs in the drawer until the bees learn to get through it, then the bee parts are rare. That's why I always leave the traps in "collect" mode instead of switching back and forth. The bees still get plenty of pollen for brood. I collect it once or twice per week put it straight into the freezer and then go through it after a couple days to take out the bee parts, hive beetles, etc.

I have never dried any of it -- my pollen freezer is not frost free. I make it clear to the customers and retailers that it contains all the natural moisture and must be kept refrigerated or frozen.

But I believe I could pick up more pollen retailers if my pollen could be kept at room temperature. I could dry it in thin layers on screens in the sun.

Lloyd -- How do you know when you've reached 10% moisture when drying it this way and will that make it shelf stable at room temperature?
 

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I judge when pollen is dry enough by rubbing a little between thumb and forefinger. If it smashes into baby powder it is not dry enough. If it stays in little balls it is dry enough. Not very scientific, but it works.

Lloyd
 

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A way to extend the life of the harvested pollen is to vacuum seal it after your freezing and cleaning it.
We have sealed in vacuum sealed bags as well as using half gallon canning jars and an attatchment to use canning lids to vacuum seal the jars with, stays fresh in the freezer this way.
 

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@ Power Napper. Hi, considering that pollen is a powdery substance how do you vacuum seal it or what kind of vacuum sealer do you use?
 
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